Somerset County Cricket Club and Somerset Cricket Foundation created a very special volunteer team for our busy home Vitality Blast matches this summer.
The Somerset Matchday Experience Team was entirely made up of Super 1s participants and players from the Somerset Disability team.
The Super 1s cricket programme is an initiative funded through the Lords Taverners that not only gets young people active by playing cricket, but also helps to develop and instill lifelong skills.
Each week about 100 young people engage with the seven Super 1 hubs that run across Somerset.
A key feature of the Super 1s programme is developing personal and social skills that can be applied in everyday life. With this in mind, Somerset County Cricket Club, in partnership with the Foundation, created a bespoke volunteering programme.
The opportunity was offered to all Super 1s players and members of the County Disability team with every interested player having to apply and then interview for the position. The rationale of using this process was to allow the players the chance to experience and develop skills associated with employment.
We were able to create a safe environment that allowed players to present and interview without pressure, but still experience the process and the nerves!
One parent observed,
“For him to go through the whole process and gain an understanding of what you have to do to interview and get a job was fantastic in such a safe environment. All the way home he kept saying ‘I got the job!’ The sense of achievement he had and the smile on his face was priceless. I can’t thank you enough for providing this opportunity and making him feel that he has the ability to get a job like everyone else.”
Each volunteer arrived 90 minutes before the scheduled start time to meet and greet our Members and supporters as well as handing out 4 & 6 cards. In addition to this they were tasked with giving away t-shirts and merchandise at various points throughout the match.
As a ‘thank you’ for all their hard work this summer, each member of the volunteer team received a card signed by the entire Somerset squad.
The creation of this role was to provide development in:
A sense of independence
Steve Gass, Somerset Cricket Foundation’s Community Programmes Manager said:
“It was wonderful to see the visible growth of each volunteer from match to match. You could see them walking a little taller each time. It was brilliant!”
One parent identified the programme as really making a difference “The whole experience and opportunity has been fantastic. My son loves his cricket, so this has been the perfect job for him. He has felt very safe and well supported, enabling him to grow. Nowhere else has offered these opportunities, so we are extremely grateful for everything the Club does.”
“As a parent it has given us the opportunity to show my child that there are roles out there that they can access and achieve. Prior too this experience my child believed they were going to be homeless as there was no way they could visualise themselves being able to work. They still have a way to go to develop this independence as they still needed my support, but this has been a brilliant opportunity to break down some barriers for my child and for them to feel valued and important.”
The players involved managed to sum their experience with just one word: